Close this search box.

What’s the difference between Micro DC Motor and Small Gear Motor?

When talking about small electrical systems, there are two commonly used components: Micro DC Motors and Small Gear Motors. Although they are similar in size and application, they have different functions and performance. Micro DC Motors offer compact and efficient rotational motion, while Small Gear Motors combine the benefits of DC motors and gear reduction to increase torque and enable precise speed control. Simply put, DC motors have high RPM (rotations per minute) and low torque, while gearboxes reduce RPM and increase torque, making them more versatile.

Understanding the differences between these two motor types is crucial for selecting the best solution for various applications.

INEED Electronics specializes in Small Gear Motors, offering a range of options such as 12mm-37mm Spur Gear Motors, 6-42mm Planetary Gear Motors, Worm Gear Motors, Brushless Gear Motors, and various types of Micro DC Motors. Additionally, we can customize the size and performance of DC motors to meet your specific requirements and specifications.

In this article, we will explore the differences between Micro DC Motors and Small Gear Motors so that you can determine which type is best suited for your design.

What are micro DC motors and how do they work?

A Micro DC motor is a device that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. It consists of a stator and a rotor. The stator is the stationary part and typically consists of a set of electromagnetic coils, known as the armature, which generates a magnetic field. The rotor is the rotating part and is usually composed of one or more permanent magnets, driven by electromagnetic force to produce rotational motion.

When a direct current voltage is applied to the motor terminals, the coils create a magnetic field, resulting in rotational motion. 

Electric motor cycle 2
Picture 1: Inside of micro DC motor
micro DC motor
Picture 2: Micro DC motor

What are small gear motors and how do they operate?

The concept of gear motors draws inspiration from the patent by German designer Albert Obermoser, who invented the Vorlegemotor (gear motor) in 1928. Engineers further began to study how to integrate gear transmission systems with DC motors to increase torque and achieve more precise speed control.

A DC gear motor is a mechanical device composed of a micro DC motor and a gear system that includes a series of gears. The purpose of the gear system coupled with the micro DC motor is to reduce the speed of the DC motor while increasing its torque, enabling it to perform a given task at a desired speed. By adding a gearbox to the motor and keeping the design simple, it becomes easy to adapt to the specific needs of customers, enhancing the versatility of the gear motor.

Depending on the number and type of gears, different combinations of output speed and torque can be achieved. Fewer gears result in higher speed and lower torque, and vice versa. It can be installed in any position.

Small gear motor
Picture 3: N20 gear motor
Small gear motor 2
Picture 4: Planetary gear motor

The advantages and disadvantages of micro DC motors and small gear motors

The advantages of micro DC motors include high starting torque, a wide speed control range, relatively simple control, and high reliability. They find extensive applications in industrial automation, transportation, household appliances, electronic devices, robotics, and other fields.

However, DC motors also have some drawbacks. These include low torque at low speeds, the need for additional electronic controllers to achieve precise speed and torque control, and the requirement for regular maintenance and brush replacement for commutation.

The benefits of using a small DC gear motor are as follows:

Increased torque: The gear mechanism in the motor increases the torque, and for applications requiring higher torque, metal gears are preferred over plastic gears.

Achieving reduction in speed: The gear reduction mechanism also decreases the speed of the motor’s output shaft.

More efficient power transmission: The gears in a mini gear motor can transmit power more effectively compared to directly driving the motor.

Compact size and design: Integrated power solutions are designed to save space. Our smallest planetary gear motor has a diameter of only 6mm, allowing for a small DC motor, which is beneficial when space is limited. 

Greater flexibility: Being able to adjust the gear ratio provides the desired operating conditions, enabling better control of torque and speed output. This is helpful in various types of applications.

Indeed, there is a potential drawback of higher manufacturing costs associated with using gear motors compared to DC motors. This is primarily because gear motors require an additional gear transmission system to achieve the functions of reduction and increased torque.

Compared to DC motors, gear motors involve more components, a more complex design, and manufacturing processes. The manufacturing, assembly, and calibration of gears typically require higher technical requirements and longer production cycles, which can increase manufacturing costs.

The Motor Selection Process

If you need assistance in determining the motor design that suits your application, please refer to our Product Guide or contact us now!

The motor selection process can be challenging during the product conceptual design stage. Fortunately, our engineers are here to assist you.  We offer personalized consulting services for all DC motor and gear motor projects, providing you with the best component solutions.

The following key points can help you determine and select the most suitable motion control solution for your application: 

Design Requirements: During the design assessment phase, study the product development requirements, design parameters, equipment functionalities, and product optimization.

Design Calculations: Perform calculations to determine the best motor solution for your application, including selecting the appropriate motor type and determining parameters such as gear ratio and torque.

These types of motors are driven by direct current (DC):

Brushed motors

Brushless motors (BLDC)

Small reduction gearbox: Choose from options such as spur gearhead, planetary gear head, or micro worm gearbox. Additionally, consider the motor type, such as coreless or iron core. 

Motor Specifications – Once the design calculations are performed and application parameters are defined, you can use this data to determine which type of motor and gearbox is most suitable for your application. Some of the most common specifications to consider when selecting a solution are:

Rated voltage

Rated current


RPM (Rotations Per Minute)

Expected lifespan/operating cycle

Shaft diameter and length

Connection method (pins, connectors, lead wires)


Micro DC motors and mini DC gear motors are common types of electric motors. DC motors convert DC electrical energy into mechanical energy, while DC geared motors incorporate a gear reduction mechanism. DC motors have the advantages of simple control, high starting torque, and a wide speed range, but they are more expensive. On the other hand, DC geared motors provide higher torque and precise speed control through the gear reduction mechanism. The key selection factors include speed range, torque requirements, and space limitations. When making a choice, it is necessary to consider the application requirements and cost-effectiveness. In conclusion, DC motors and DC geared motors find wide applications in various fields, providing power and motion control functions to various mechanical devices. 


What’s the difference DC motor vs gear motor?

The difference between a DC motor and a geared motor is that a geared motor adds a gearbox to the DC motor, creating a single unit for controlling motion. The purpose of the gearbox is to reduce the output speed of the geared motor while increasing the torque, in order to meet the specific needs of mechanical and electrical applications.

Is a gear motor a DC motor?

Gear motors can be powered by either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). They are a type of electric motor that utilizes a gear reducer to increase the available output torque while maintaining a compact size. This means that gear motors can be either DC motors or AC motors, depending on the type of power source being used.




Share the Post:
Table of Contents
80icon copy 10

Connect with our expert motor engineers.

Allow us to help you realize your project from concept to mass production while minimizing design and production risks.

2 Responses

  1. I visit evety day a few web pages and blogs to read
    articles or reviews, but this weblog presents quality based posts.

    My webpage; Davis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Motors Catalog Download

Download and view the full series catalog for free

Contact Us

You need our support, and we are ready to provide assistance.

Motor products pose complexities in understanding, specifying, and integrating, with no industry standards. We offer expertise to mitigate design, manufacturing, and supply risks.

Contact our team now.

You can easily upload your 2D/3D CAD design files, and our sales engineering team will provide you with a quote within 24 hours.